Sunday, November 20, 2011

The University of California

Last week I posted this note on my Facebook in response to the new videos that have emerged regarding the use of pepper spray against student protestors at UC Davis:

This video changes virtually nothing for me. People are making an uproar because students encircled the police? "Preventing them from leaving?" Yes, let's be worried about the police, stocked with pepper spray, batons, guns, and riot gear - they are certainly the ones at risk. Could they leave the circle? Yes. Could they simply step over the students? Yes. Did they choose to pepper spray them instead? Yes.

What must be challenged here is the notion of who holds the power on UC campuses. Students, the primary stakeholders of the UC system, should be allowed to peacefully gather and protest, without the threat of arrest or injury. Police can issue as many warnings as they want. Some of you seem to think that simply because they've issued warnings, their acts are justified. To me, they never should have been trying to break up the protest in the first place.

As for my many peers posting this video around as some kind of vindication for the use of pepper spray against these students, and dismissing the protestors by telling them to "go back to the library and study," just remember: many students 5 years from now will not have the privilege of going to study because they'll have to work 5 jobs to pay off the 81% fee hike. Have some respect for their struggle, even if it isn't yours. 

My post went "viral" (a very relative term). Though I generally like to keep my FB free of political commentary, this time, I just couldn't help myself. The post ignited a debate among friends and acquaintances, which you can visit here:


Two years ago UC San Diego was catapulted into protests about race. It was the most politically active most students or professors had ever seen our campus. Protestors peacefully occupied Library Walk,  marched through San Diego, and spoke very uncomfortable truths to power.

At that time, I quietly participated in the protests, mainly by means of observation and some marching in solidarity. There were many things to think about and a lot to admire from the spirit and determination of other student activists. I never, however, imagined how PRIVILEGED we were to be free from harm while peacefully demonstrating. It was a RIGHT that I took for granted.

Some students of color felt at risk (threatening nooses were incredibly threatening). But of the many things I can fault our university administration for, using the UC Police Department against our own students is NOT one of them.

I am so disgusted watching the videos of unwarranted violence at Berkeley and Davis. I don't think I need to go on a tirade here about them - any moment you spend on facebook aggregates the frustrations, shock and pain that students have felt first hand or feel in solidarity with their peers.

But a few questions linger. Where the hell are the parents of these protestors? They should get their asses out there to stand in solidarity with their students.

Who is going to sue UCPD? Someone has to. UC Student Association, UC Parents Association, UC Faculty: drafting "statements" is one way to express your solidarity and anger. But I think legal action is in order.

What the hell are the regents doing? Thanks for this nice little statement, Yudof. I especially like how you reaffirm your support for UCPD and leadership from the Chancellors:

"My intention is not to micromanage our campus police forces. The sworn officers who serve on our campuses are professionals dedicated to the protection of the UC community."

Nor do I wish to micromanage the chancellors. They are the leaders of our campuses and they have my full trust and confidence."

YEP, their leadership has been VISIONARY thus far. I'll be staying posted on how the Chancellors and Regents deal with this issue.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Life of Awesome

Friday, November 4, 2011 Launches

it seems like just yesterday that amber and i came up with the idea for GYG, and now, the site is LIVE at


for stories:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

learning to take les photos

shoutouts to my guinea pig friends who tolerated my tripod and canons95 (yes, i believe it's possible to take good photos with a point and shoot).

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Too much has happened since my last post to do a real "catch up" here. Here are the highlights of my life since March:

I interviewed Amartya Sen.

I graduated and got some nice graduation gifts from the school (an awesome UCSD alumni blanket, and some plaques).

Hamish and I road-tripped up the Pacific Coast. The week consisted of a lot of driving, books on tape, excellent coffee and beautiful parks.


Crater Lake:

I moved out to Carmel, CA and started cooking a lot. (Seriously, a lot. Starting a food blog was a serious consideration. I have an arsenal of photos ready just in case).

I started volunteering at a TEDxYouth conference in Monterey and got really inspired. (I continue to be inspired by them).

Many friends came to visit me in Carmel because it is a great tourist destination. Among them, my great friend Grace Rolland She sang a lot for me, and it was wonderful.

Grace's graceful visit was followed by another great friend, Amber Rackliffe. During that visit, Amber and I decided to start a huge crazy venture called GiveYourGap. "Like" us! The page got a bunch of likes on my birthday and I'm still really excited about it.

I went to New York and DC to work on my thesis research and to visit my big sista Stephanie Ang, who is now a grad student at NYU. We watched Memphis! and it was mind-blowingly fun.

And now, I've moved back to Cupertino, CA. My hometown. Better known at C-Town. Here, though I find myself constantly disappointed in the lack of beach, good mexican food, and specialty coffee joints (in short, I am constantly disappointed that it is not San Diego), I am surround by people I love.

ESPECIALLY my new roomieeee and BFF Beckster Yen:

Back here in the CPT, I'm working hard on GiveYourGap, trying to help out at home and not forget about grad school applications.

Back to San Diego next week to get my fill of beach, mexican food and specialty coffee...and of course, even more people I love!. Yipee :).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This week ended with some rough news - did not get the Fulbright Research Fellowship this year. The thin, manila-enveloped letter came in the mail on Friday afternoon, and my weekend naturally followed with some intensive self-reflection. The Fulbright process has been long and exhausting. Since last August, when I submitted my app, I have been (so mistakenly!) wrapped up in the waiting game. Well - it's done now and I am at least very happy to have made it to the final round, which was my original benchmark goal anyways.

As I approached the mailbox on Friday I had a strange feeling that it was going to be a rejection letter, but it was still hit me pretty hard when I read it. I called my sister, then went home to write the professors and advisors who had given me so much through the application process and the year.

It's now time to start gearing up for a hard job search, apply for grad programs, and begin a world travel adventure. I'm going to begin in the Philippines in January (where my parents and I are going on a medical mission) and then make my way westwards through Southeast Asia, back to Turkey, on to Europe and then end up back in California.

Thank you to all who have offered words of encouragement, confidence, and inspiration. So much love!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What "Research" Looks Like

Though my life has been very preoccupied with research for my senior honors thesis, I have yet to blog about it. WOOPS! In the following post, I'm just going to talk a bit about what my research looks like, what I actually spend my hours doing, and weigh some thoughts about. *In the process of writing this I realized probably no one is interested in the procedural workings of archival research. So I don't actually say that much about procedure. You're welcome, haha!

The first batch of archival research I conducted was at Stanford University's Hoover Institution Archives. I worked with documents from the 1920's and 30's: (handwritten) student essays, personal correspondence, official government documents, saved newspaper clippings, transcripts of conversations - you name it. This is a picture of the Hoover Tower @ Stanford - I worked beside and below the tower. Unfortunately no pictures of the archive reading area, but it's not that exciting. Just a bunch of people sitting around tables with lots of old documents and getting reprimanded by the Archivists for not following rules about handling documents!

A few months ago I got an undergraduate research scholarship to come to Columbia to start work in another set of archives on Robert College. I've included some better pictures of Columbia....

Butler Library, where the Rare Book and Manuscript Library is located. Butler is one of the main college libraries, so it is familiar to most of everyone that goes to Columbia. Didn't seem that many undergrads visited the 6th floor, however, which is full of reading rooms and of course, the archives!

Terrible state of affairs with some of the documents. As you can see, it looks like absolute chicken scratch. I took a looksie at these and panicked for a good half hour that there would simply be no way of deciphering the writing. But luckily, as we move away from 1860, the paper, ink, and script gets much better. Today I got to typed documents, woot woot!

The Archival Reading Room: A bunch of desks like this, surrounded by an interesting assortment of people also conducting research. I am always so curious about what other people are reading, but it doesn't seem to be in etiquette to have conversations with other researchers.

The coolest thing about historical archival research is that it brings you to cool places (ex/ I am in new york). In my next blog I will write about actually fun things I have done in the city, besides reading obscure documents. For now, the view from my room in the Upper West Side (graciously provided by Rah and Edwin!)